Church Bulletin Notes
By Ken Blue
It seems that there are some things churches are expected to do, and one of these is the church bulletin. Now, my purpose is not to “rant” against the bulletin, but to stir up your mind so the bulletin can become a meaningful tool and not just a traditional practice.
Many church bulletins are pathetic and a waste of money and time. They say the same nothing every week and every comment is in the exact location each week. There will be a list of songs, a last Sunday’s offering and attendance, and who works in the nursery this week. The only new news is the potluck next Sunday afternoon.
The bulletin must be clean and attractive. A church in Alaska called theirs the “Sunday News.” The purpose statement of the church should be on front or on the first page so it can’t be missed. Rather than a menu of songs, have the song leader or music director write articles about the history of one of the songs to be sung. Books are available on the history of hymns.
There should always be a different message in the bulletin from the pastor about some victory, and the philosophy of the church. Write on the subject of the month. Give a progress report on what is being accomplished and what the church vision is.
I recommend that the pastor’s sermon title and outline be in the bulletin. The title, the text, and the main points should be listed. Sometimes the sub points could be added. Leave a blank space where the key word is in each line. As you preach through the sermon, you will state the keywords and people will write them in. This keeps their mind on the subject and gives them the outline to take home. Learning is being processed through the ear, the eye, and the pen. Everything is being reinforced by the people’s participation.
You can make your bulletin count, and you should use it as a tool to communicate your message, your ministry, and your purpose. Stretch your imagination and vision and make the bulletin worth the investment.
I ask my wife what frustrated her most when she was doing the bulletin for our church. She said the thing that frustrated her most was that I did not get my notes to her in a timely manner. I’m sorry I asked.
I also ask Barb Hughes to give her insights on the church bulletin; here are some of her comments:
[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Bulletins CAN BE a resourceful and informative vehicle of church news.[/pullquote]
“I have been doing our church bulletin off and on since 1974, and have learned much. Bulletins CAN BE a resourceful and informative vehicle of church news. Sadly, many churches use them for carrying “fill ins” and “funnies” or inspirational drivel. These bulletins tend to be time and money wasters. Surely it’s not a surprise that members fail to read them.
Our church’s bulletin is a MINISTRY, first and foremost. It fulfills our Church motto (included on the cover) “Bible Baptist Church exists to lead people into a redemptive and growing relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.” We post:
- Meetings where people can get church information and services for preaching.
- Opportunities to serve the Lord and outreach.
- Fellowship news with other members of the church family.
- Websites and email information is available.
- Teaching cds and dvds are listed and updated weekly.
- Changes of activities that members will need to know are noted.
- The weekly and Sunday schedule of events is updated/changed every bulletin.
- Help wanted ads are regularly posted. Filling open positions in a timely manner and who to contact.
- Offerings and birthdays/ anniversaries are mentioned weekly (members can send cards to others).
- A note of information and emphasis from the preacher for the current week.
- Back of the bulletin has space available to record notes from messages.
FILLER is generally a scripture of encouragement or encouragement to get involved in stewardship and missions, instead of FLUFF.
Suggested ideas: Find someone who will do the bulletin as a ministry, not a burden, or a “useless task”. They should be fairly knowledgeable with programs that create newsletter pages. Make sure the bulletin is COMPLETELY updated and rearranged each week. You don’t want it to be BORING or TEDIOUS. (Some features can/should be in the same place each week to lend “stability” to the design.- schedule for example).
Filler material, if needed, should be uplifting and scriptural for the most part. We occasionally run some funny, but it’s rare. If the bulletin consists of mostly FILLER materials, consider NOT PUBLISHING for that week.
BIGGEST FRUSTRATION would be mechanical failures or my own failures to do the job, for whatever reason. If people do NOT provide their news, they don’t get published. I recently began designing our bulletin covers and print them directly onto the paper each week.”
Hope this helps!
Pastor Ken Blue was born in Boswell, Ark. In 1955 he accepted Christ as his Savior. He and his wife Joyce were married in 1955. They have 5 children. He graduated from Midwestern Baptist Bible College in 1969 and started the Open Door Baptist Church in Lynnwood, Wa. where he pastored for 39 years. Because of health issues (ALS) he was forced to resign as pastor. It is his desire to continue to be used of God to help pastors and believers through this ministry.